Axel Mueller
Northwestern University
This article examines some arguments in favor of taking peace as a political obligation that can be found in one of the most important founders of the pacifist movement, Jane Addams. The main focus is on her 1907 book Newer Ideals of Peace, which has often been read as idealistic and outdated, and above all, as more of an activist’s manifesto than a serious contribution to either political philosophy or political theory. I point out that this owes much to an ambiguity of Addams’ criticisms of the traditional and Kantian cosmopolitan defense of peace as a political ideal, the ambiguity between practical-political and conceptual problems. However, Addam’s succeeds in identifying one profound problem for traditional, even enlightended institution-centered ideals of peace, the collapse of the very ideal in cases of breaches of explicit peace-agreements among nations, because breaches of agreements are tantamount to the loss of all commitment to the other nation’s rights. It reveals that the conditions imposed by such ideals are at most necessary, but not sufficient for peace, and hence that the concept based on them is not a complete concept of lasting peaceful conditions among humans. Once it is seen as dedicated to resolving the problems entailed by this fundamental problem, Addams’ work, and in particular her focus on resources of solidarity and right-granting practices beyond and outside explicit agreements between governments can be understood as the development of a more adequate, coherent and comprehensive, while also a more actionable conception of peace. In the course of this development, Addams can also be observed to make use of crucial epistemological and more technical philosophical tools that are most closely associated with classical pragmatism, but which partly appear (albeit largely obliquely in the course of their application to a particular case) for the first time Addams’ treatise. Addams’ work is therefore of more than merely political activist interest for philosophers. Nonetheless, the article also explains her status as an important contributor to proper conceptions of world peace and the understanding of certain phenomena in the organization of public will formation precisely by pointing out that without some of her future-oriented proposals, like the inseparability of peace-policies and development, or the need to institutionally protect and foster spontaneous solidary action, the best contemporary work on peace would not have been possible.
Keywords Jane Addams  Kant  Pragmatism  Political Philosophy  Peace and Pacifism  Feminism  Cosmopolitanism
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References found in this work BETA

Jane Addams.Maurice Hamington - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Jane Addams and the Dream of American Democracy.Jean Bethke Elshtain - 2004 - American Journal of Theology and Philosophy 25 (1):97-101.

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Kant’s Universalism Versus Pragmatism.Hemmo Laiho - 2019 - In Krzysztof Skowroński & Sami Pihlström (eds.), Pragmatist Kant—Pragmatism, Kant, and Kantianism in the Twenty-first Century. Helsinki, Finland: pp. 60-75.

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